HOW PHOTOGRAPHERS CAN BRAND THEMSELVES FOR SOCIAL MEDIA WORK
understand if their work is appropriate for a brand.
When Alex Milwee, a vice president at Edelman
Digital, the interactive arm of the public relations
firm, wants to hire photographers for clients, he looks
“to see if the imagery and the people that they’re
featuring are in line with the brand” for which he’s
Photographers also sometimes become de facto
spokespeople for brands through their social media
feeds, and that can lead to work. When Yu needed
to hire photographers to shoot still images for Air
Jordan’s social media channels at the NBA All-Star
game last year, she worked with photographers that
she knew had an affinity for the brand because they’d
posted about Air Jordan shoes and apparel on their
own social media feeds.
THE FOLLOWING FACTOR
In addition to evaluating a photographer’s
esthetic fit for a campaign, some brands do hire
photographers with big social media followings
and ask those photographers to publish work on
their social channels. Some of these photographers
are professionals who happen to have large social
followings, while others are primarily known for their
social media cache.
Rumors of Instagrammers promoting brands
for meager compensation have made professional
photographers and reps cringe, but Yu argues that
photographers with big followings are in a good
position to negotiate if the brand wants them to
publish work on their personal feeds. “If you have a
big enough following and your audience fits in with
the client, you have the upper hand in negotiating,” Yu
says. Photographers who are bidding on jobs will use
their followings as a selling point, she adds. “You’re
providing media in that instance, which is of huge
value,” she says.
Siegel says that, when one of her photographers
with a big following did a social media campaign
for a major auto manufacturer, the client asked if
the photographer would post images to his personal
Instagram feed. Siegel declined because she felt
like there wasn’t enough compensation. When
photographers post for brands on their personal
feeds, they’re tying themselves to the brand, and
risking alienating their audience by publishing ads. “It
could be worthwhile if the price was [high] enough,
or the brand has a certain appeal that feels authentic
to the photographer, or the photographer has a real
belief in the brand,” she says.
Photographers who align themselves with one brand
by posting ads on their personal feeds may also preclude
themselves from getting work from a competitive brand.
Milwee says that one of the first things he checks when
AMY YVONNE YU: “Everybody needs to edit.
he’s considering working with a photographer for an
Edelman Digital client is whether or not they’ve worked
with a competitive brand. “If they have, it makes it hard
to justify a partnership,” he says. An image for J. Crew social media made by Bryan Derballa in California.
Social media is yet another channel for you to
present yourself professionally.”